Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection


Review by · October 25, 2009

Nintendo has been stingy with soundtrack releases for years now. They’ve even made public statements about it: “we’re not going to publish soundtracks for our games anymore.”

But they have slipped plenty a promotional release out there. The most recent is the Club Nintendo (like Nintendo Power, but in Japan) exclusive CD, “Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection.” It covers all three games in the trilogy which spans the GBA and DS. The music is still from Yoko Shimomura, who worked on Square’s original Super Mario RPG almost 15 years ago. Wow!

Now, these aren’t full OST sound sets. On one disc, they can only fit so much from each game. They gave the most attention to “Bowser’s Inside Story,” the third game in the series, since this CD was released in the same span of time as the third game.

The first nine tracks, from the GBA original in the “Mario & Luigi RPG” trilogy, are really catchy. They sound rather dated, as the GBA sound format was not a great venue for decent audio, but the original compositions are stellar. I love “Come On!” and “Come On Again!”–these are surprisingly happy and catchy battle themes. That’s been par for the course in the Mario RPG soundscape, but it still caught me off-guard when I heard it for the first time in a year or two.

Partners in Time, the sequel that transitioned the series from GBA to DS, gets the least attention. There are some great tracks here, but again, I have to point to the battle theme as the peak of the soundtrack (or, at least, of this seven-track selection of music from the game).

The battle themes “Oki Doki!!” and “SHOW TIME!” kick off the fun and adventure of M&LRPG3, and at this point, I have to state my personal opinion on the matter, which is that Shimomura got better and better at doing these battle themes over time. Because, in my opinion, these are the most interesting battle themes of the trilogy. Still, just being able to consistently create good music across a five year span of time for this trilogy is a feat all its own.

I wish they had made this a two disc set, so we could have heard more dungeon themes from the first two games in the trilogy. The dungeon music in Bowser’s Inside Story is really top notch. In short, I want more!

While some might describe this music as “childish” with a negative connotation, I would prefer to call it “playful.” If you’re ready to pay top dollar to try and get a copy of this CD from Yahoo! Japan Auctions, or some other re-sale service, then I wish you the best of luck. This is a great CD to have in any collector’s stash.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.